IDOL TALK: Randy Wayne White’s Gift Keeps Giving

I was sitting in Doc Ford’s restaurant on Sanibel Island talking to the man himself, well, his alter ego: NYT bestselling novelist Randy Wayne White. Randy is best known for his Doc Ford series about a marine biologist and former government agent who lives on Sanibel and always seems to find trouble, or it finds him. Think of Indiana Jones, but on the bays and backwaters of Florida, the Caribbean and South America.

Interviewing Randy in his own restaurant is a feat in and of its own. For two hours we were repeatedly interrupted by loving fans seeking autographed copies of his books, which his restaurants (there are three, soon to be four), are more than happy to sell. And Randy, a true gentleman who admits to a sailor’s vocabulary (although I never heard it) was more than willing to oblige his fans.

There’s a lot more to Randy Wayne White than books and fans, like the work he’s done to help kids and refugees in Cuba. He’s a big man with a big heart. Read more about him in my future column on in the coming months. In the meantime, check out this documentary, “Gift of the Game,” about Randy’s effort to help Cuban children play baseball and to meet Ernest Hemingway’s original boy’s team on the island.